Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone believes that the returning Chot Reyes will feel little surprise with the evolution of the PBA style of play since he was last in the league.
He might even be ahead of the pack.
“I don’t think he’ll be surprised by anything. He’ll probably be more advanced than all of us,” said the 23-time champion mentor matter-of-factly in The Game on ONE News Monday, where he guested alongside Reyes.
Reyes just made his coaching comeback over the weekend after his appointment as the new chief bench tactician of TNT Tropang Giga. He takes over the reins from Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel.
The 57-year-old last coached in Asia’s first pro league in 2012. Back then, he steered the MVP Group’s crown jewel to their third consecutive Philippine Cup title, becoming the first team to bag the coveted Perpetual trophy.
The fiery think-tank, however, decided to leave TNT and the league to become the full-time coach of Gilas Pilipinas. He eventually led the national team back to the prestigious FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time in nearly four decades.
Since that time, Reyes has competed against the world’s finest while also attending the best coaching seminars out there.
For Cone, the game has evolved over the years, and the same goes for the PBA while Reyes was away. “The game of basketball has evolved. And over the last three, four, five years, the PBA has evolved with it,” he said.
“And also, there’s really strongly established teams in the league that has been… I would say a little bit more dominant over the last three or four years and the years previously. It’s been harder to kinda crack into that top echelon.”
However, he believes that his good pal might have had a better experience than his peers at home, having manned the Nationals’ sidelines on the global stage. Reyes last coached in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in July 2018.
“But Chot has had that experience while we were in the PBA. He had an even better experience being outside the PBA playing on the world stage, and that was where all the innovation was going on,” he said.
“If anything, Chot will bring in a lot more innovation to the PBA.”
Reyes, though, tempered expectations, saying that he has yet to sit down with his assistant coaches Bong Ravena, Josh Reyes, Sandy Arespacochaga, Yuri Escueta, Alton Lister, and Ranidel De Ocampo.
But for him, once you have experienced international basketball, there’s no turning back.
“I’m a believer in values-based teaching. The philosophy will still be the same,” he said.
“As I said, my international exposure, when you go there, there’s no turning back. It is difficult for you to do any other thing.”